1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.
Between the Divine call to salvation and the full accomplishment of salvation, the Christian needs faith to watch and wait, to work and walk through the darkness. The rock on which he must build this faith is God's faithfulness.
I. CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.
1. God performs what he promises. God promises in his Word. He promises most solemnly, and as it were by oath, in his covenants, e.g. with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses and Israel, and the new covenant sealed by the blood of Christ. God also promises by his actions. Natural instincts, such as the innate thirst for light, the yearning for immortality, etc., are the Creator's promises written on the very being of his creatures. God's faithfulness means that he will not belie these promises.
2. God is true to himself. His consistency and immutability are the grounds of his faithfulness. Because he is true to himself he will be true to us: "The mercy of the Lord endureth for ever." If we are left to "the uncovenanted mercies" of God, these are large and sure enough to dispel all fear.
3. God justifies the confidence of his children. Faithfulness implies trustworthiness. If we commit our souls to God as to a faithful Creator, he accepts our trust, and thereby pledges his honor not to desert us.
II. GROUNDS FOR BELIEVING IN GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.
1. Our knowledge of the nature of God. If we believe in God at all, we must believe in him as moral, good, nay, perfect. A weak and limited being may change and fail. God is too great to be faith less.
2. The testimony of those who can best speak for God. We judge of a person's character largely on the evidence of those who have the most intimate acquaintance. Now we find prophets and saints who are nearest to God in thought and life most positive in asserting his faithfulness. Only they who dwell in the outer courts of his temple, or altogether away from his presence, venture to deny it.
3. The evidence afforded by the life of Christ. Christ was the great Revealer of the character of God; and Christ was faithful even to death.
4. The witness of history to the past faithfulness of God; e.g. the deliverance from Egypt, the return from the captivity, the advent of Christ, the presence of Christ in his Church to guide and strengthen and bless.
5. The confirmation of personal experience. Many have proved God's faithfulness in their own lives. They can say, "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his' troubles."
III. TEMPTATIONS TO DOUBT GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.
1. The weary time of waiting. God does not fulfill his promises as soon as he makes them. Long intervals try our faith. So was it with the Jewish expectation of the Messiah; so is it with the Christian expectation of the second advent. The heart is sickened with hope deferred. But this doubt is as foolish as that of one who, seeing the morning to be long in coming, begins to distrust the promise of sunrise.
2. Appearances of unfaithfulness. Nothing tries love so painfully as the necessity of so acting as to provoke doubts of its own constancy. Yet the truest love will not shrink from this necessity when it arises. God seems to desert us, or he visits us in chastisement. It is his greater faithfulness that leads him so to act as to cloud our vision of his love.
3. The unexpected fulfillment of Divine promises. God does not always fulfill his promises in the way expected by us. Then we are disappointed. But the error was in our previous delusion, not in any change on God's part. Moreover, the true Divine fulfillment, though at first less pleasing to us than our expectation of it, always proves in the long run to be far better.
IV. THE RESPONSE WHICH GOD'S FAITHFULNESS SHOULD CALL FORTH FROM US.
1. Adoration. The faithfulness of God is one of the most worthy themes of worship.
2. Trust Faithfulness merits confidence, and it encourages it.
3. Fidelity. If God is faithful to us, he has a right to bid us be faithful. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.